Adelaide Hoodless

One Canadian woman who worked very hard for the establishment of the National Council of Canadian Women was Adelaide Hoodless. She was born on Feb 27, 1875.

Education was prized and she attended a ladies’ college in Gainsville for some period of time. She married John Hoodless on September 14, 1881, a Hamilton business man. When contemplating this marriage, she discussed the matter with her clergyman. She is reported to have said: “Here I am, a Presbyterian and a Whig planning to marry a man who is not only an Anglican but a Tory. What should I do?” His reply was “My dear, you can be a good Christian in any Church, butstick to your politics!” Adelaide Hoodless demonstrated religious tolerance throughout her life.

Like tolerance enabled the National Council of Women to survive bitter sectarian debates during its early years and to make local councils extraordinaryeffective nets of communication between people holding very different theological beliefs.

She was Treasurer from 1893 until her resignation in 1901. Adelaide Hoodless founded the Women’s Institute in February 1897 at Stoney Creek. It was her practical nature which led her to propose resolutions concerning what was taught in public schools. In 1896, she argued that manual labour ought to be elevated to the “equally honoured position hitherto occupied by the more intellectual pursuits.” Mrs. Hoodless believed that domestic science ought to include “agriculture..dairying, poultry raising, beekeeping…”. Lady Aberdeen opened the fifth annual meeting commenting on the success of efforts to have manual training included in public school curriculum in Ontario.